December 10, 1997

Allergy and Immunology on the Internet

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, (Dr Peters; e-mail:; and the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md (Dr Sikorski; e-mail:

JAMA. 1997;278(22):2029-2030. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550220235031

A family medicine resident who sees a number of patients with asthma and other allergic conditions spends a few hours each week checking the Internet for medical updates, tips, and other information that she can apply to her practice. One afternoon, she spots an alert on a specialty society site warning of faulty epinephrine pens that she has prescribed to several of her patients with severe respiratory and bee allergies. The alert reports how a small percentage of the pens apparently discharge spontaneously and will therefore be useless in an emergency. She checks her office database and notifies the patients who have been prescribed this particular brand of pen so that they can return it as part of a free recall offered by the manufacturer.